Data on how much freelance writers make can be tough to pin down. But it’s something every writer wants to know. I tackled this topic three years ago when I published this post. And it’s a topic that never gets old. Check out the updated resources. And be sure to ask yourself the two questions at the end to determine your earning potential. -Carol
It’s one of the most-asked questions I get: “Can you tell me how much freelance writers make?”
Let’s face it — we’ve all got mouths to feed. So it’s important to get a sense of whether freelance writing can yield you a real, bill-paying level of income. It’s a good question to ask.
There are two steps to figuring out the answer to this question.
The first is to find survey data on what freelancers make. That gives you a sense of what’s possible, and what’s typical.
The second step is a bit harder, so let’s start with data.
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We know how much you love our lists of sites that pay writers. So we’ve got an update since last year’s list of 92 sites that pay $50 and up.
Why do we do these market lists?
First, we like to help writers earn a good living. We have a floor rate of $50 for inclusion in these lists so that you can move up from sites that pay writers $10, $15, and $25 for posts.
Then, once you’ve added a few clips from these better-paying sites to your portfolio, you can move up again to sites that pay writers more. (Don’t think those sites are out there? Read about writers who are making $200+ per post and a content mill that pays $400 per post.)
Second, we want to recognize sites that value the work their writers are doing. Good guest posts bring traffic to a site, which leads to list subscribers or ad revenue. When someone helps a blogger or business earn money, they deserve to earn money for that work. And we celebrate sites that have that same philosophy.
Now, on to the updates.
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Ask any writer about their worst writing job — and they’ve got a story to tell.
If you’re a freelance writer for any length of time, some gig will go sideways on you. That’s just how it is.
The key is not to see that worst-case experience as an indicator of your skills, or a referendum on your future potential as a writer.
It’s just…business. Things go wrong. Misunderstandings happen. Everybody has a bad day.
Because so many writers seem to be devastated when they bomb at a gig, I thought it might be useful to collect worst-client stories and let writers compare notes. I thought we could collect them in the comments on this post.
So I’m having a contest! Details are below. But first, I thought I’d kick this off by sharing my own worst writing job stories.
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Are you worried about ageism in freelancing? It’s a concern I hear from a lot of writers.
It’s not uncommon for writers to finally embark on their dream career after retiring or being laid off from a longtime job, or after several different corporate jobs. I also hear from journalists who’ve taken 10-20 years off to raise kids, and now they want to start getting assignments again.
But you worry that you’re “too old.” It’s too late for you. You’re obsolete. No one’s going to hire you.
If ageism in freelancing is your worry, I want to tell you it’s all lies.
I’ve been freelancing since late 2005, have owned an AARP card for several years now, and I’ve never been offered more lucrative projects than I’m seeing right now.
I’ve encountered not one situation in a decade where I felt I was passed over because I was too old.
If you’ve been held back by fears about ageism in freelancing, I have some tips for how you can overcome this and get great clients:
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I wasn’t always a freelance writer. In fact, I used to be a brainy corporate accountant who made a six-figure income. But I wanted out in a bad way. And I made up my mind that I could earn a living by booking well-paying freelance writing jobs.
Here’s how it all went down. I raided my 401(k), a very un-CPA-like thing to do. I bought a townhouse, renovated it and flipped it. Pretty smart, right? But I still needed freelance writing jobs lined up before I could quit my day job. And not the content-mill kind.
So I joined the Freelance Writers Den. Then I went through the bootcamp, “Learn to Write White Papers,” by Steve Slaunwhite. That was my light-bulb moment. Writing white papers was the perfect match for my skills and goals to get freelance writing jobs that paid pro rates. Without hesitation, I named my new business “Savvy White Papers,” and launched my website.
With that done I busted my butt until I had a $250/hr contract in my hand and a check in the bank. Want to know how to land freelance writing jobs that pay top dollar? Here’s how I did it:
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